I already have a SLR digital Rebel, but it is too big to carry to some places. So I was looking for something small, light and with enough features to keep me, a SLR buff, interested.
My wife wanted a sleeker, colorful and tiny camera. I felt that we needed a more jack of all trades model. So I looked for a good optical zoom (10x), and as much manual features as possible. I ended up with three cameras: a Sony, a Canon and a Panasonic. It didn't take much testing to see that Canon was superior in every aspect.
The menus are simpler than Sony's. The physical buttons are better placed and bigger than Panasonic's. The only thing that I will miss is to have wider lens. Both Sony and Panasonic have wider angles, good for that classic auto-photo with your friends in a club.
Other than that... My god. This camera is amazing. I didn't need the manual to figure the commands out. Everything is where it is supposed to be. You just navigate and the commands just appear in context of what you are selecting. So, if you are in full auto, you won't find controls for Manual Focus and flash. But if you change to other programs, these options are there.
The manual commands are great. The manual focus is almost perfect and the ISO options work perfectly. I prefer the way they built the flash: it does not open automatically when the camera needs it. It asks you to open. I hate when the flashes keep popping and opening without my consent. And also it is one more feature to break somewhere down the line. I like the idea of just opening the flash myself.
In the end. It is a little bigger than the models my wife wanted, but being an amateur photographer herself she didn't need much time to see that, for a few fractions of inches more, we had a better deal.
Oh. I almost forgot. The biggest problem, really, is the downtime between shots. These cameras need to be faster. It makes me crazy when I need to take a shot and I just have to wait while the microprocessor is working. Come on, guys. You can make it better.
Other than the speed issues... Great package. Amazing colors and lens. Almost perfect camera.